Trader Horn has 10 locations in central Western Pennsylvania between Pittsburgh and Interstate-80, with one store in Clarion, just a hair north of I-80. The store has just about everything you can imagine from hardware and housewares to foods and kids toys. Most of the store looks like a low-budget Wal-Mart, which, in a way, it is. The Clarion store is huge, and it was actually Jamesway department store and a grocery store that stood side-by-side before both went out of business. The Clarion store is the newest location in the small Trader Horn chain.
The original trader horn opened in Butler in 1958. In 1973 the second Butler location opened and the tiny chain was renamed Trader Horn. Today the store employs some 400 people.
Pennsylvania has some of the worst, most convoluted alcohol sales laws in the country. Only the state owned liquor stores can sell wine or hard liquor, and they are not allowed to sell beer. Luckily the no-beer on Sundays rule changed recently. Don't even think about buying beer in a convenient place like a grocery store or a convenience store.
Of course you can buy beer in a bar, but licenses are limited per capita, so they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Furthermore, bars can sell beer for take out, but only in 6-packs with a limit of two per customer. If you take the two 6-packs out to your car, you can walk back in and buy two more! No cases or kegs can be sold at bars, though.
So PA has an oddity called beer distributors that handle sales of beer in cases and kegs. Mind you, sales of quantities smaller than a case are prohibited, that specialty is reserved for bars and restaurants! Even funnier, most of the older beer distributors in Western PA are located in small warehouses, usually set up with two doors and drive through service. Makes the whole transaction seem sneaky when they close the door behind you before they throw a case of cold ones in your trunk.
The state is considering allowing beer distributors to sell 6-packs. Even this small victory would be seen progress for the consumer.
In the Clarion area there are just a handful of beer distributors. These include:
Holabaugh Beer Distributor on River Hill near Shippenville.
Clarion Beverage Company on 4th Ave just off Main Street.
Matts Beer Barn between Lucinda and Leeper.
Main Street - I like Main Street's old fashioned mom and pop feel with numerous local bars, restaurants, and shops like Bob's Sub, The Tavern, Paul A. Weaver Jewelers, Dan Estadt's, Crooks Clothing, Captain Loomis Inn, and countess others. You won't fins many chains here except and old McDonalds and an old Wendy's.
The Clarion Mall - The mall in Clarion is pretty lame. The relatively new Destina Theater did add a spark to the area, but the rest of the mall is quiet other than JC Penneys, a DMV drivers license center, a Radio Shack, RRR Roadhouse restaurant, a men's clothing store, and a K-Mart that has been almost put out of business by the nearby WalMart. Behind the mall are the Clarion Hospital and the Clarion Psychiatric Center.
The I-80 interchange businesses - The newest business area of Clarion, and still growing south of the Interstate. Once WalMart moved in here a few years back, the place exploded with McDonalds, Staples, Subway, Eat'n'Park, Applebees, and tons of other regional and national chains.
Maybe River Hill... - River Hill Route 322 west of town has a few small stores and restaurants, like Dairy Queen, a beer distributor, and a few used car dealers. Most businesses here tend to be more of the specialty type.